How to coach tackling in football
Ever wondered what makes a player good at tackling? We explore how The FA's core capabilities can help your team master this skill.
To successfully challenge for the ball, your players need to scan their environment before, during and after the tackle. This helps them to win possession – and decide what to do next. Let's take a closer look.
Before the tackle
Ask your players if they can:
- notice where they are on the pitch in relation to the goal
- spot the path of the ball
- see the movement of the attackers and the space they want to use.
Posing these questions will encourage players to survey their surroundings.
Next, to help players use their scanning skills to anticipate in-game problems, get them to consider the following scenarios:
- What if your teammate loses the ball?
- What if your teammate gets beaten by an opponent?
- What do you do when two or more attackers are running at you?
During the tackle
Whether a player is observing their opponent before making a move or ready to challenge, they must consider what could happen next. There could be extra danger lurking or even a chance for them to win the ball and create an attack. With this in mind, always encourage your players to "have a quick glance" before they make their next move.
After the tackle
Following a challenge, can your players spot a chance to counter or their opponent's next attack? To help them do this, provide transitions in practices and reward individuals when they demonstrate the action of challenging.
When challenging for the ball, the ultimate aim is to win it cleanly. That's why timing is crucial. Go in too early, and the opponent could play around you. Too late, and the opportunity to win the ball passes by – or you might give a foul away.
To work on timing, ensure your practices provide opposition, offer repeated tackling opportunities and replicate what happens in a real game. Doing this will give players plenty of chance to try challenging. It'll also make it easier for them to transfer their learning into a match.